New Show Recap: Once Upon a Time 4×21, “Mother”

In a flashback to the Enchanted Forest, Regina is riding in her carriage when she sees a wedding ceremony taking place on royal lands. At first she pretends to be thrilled about it, but then her true nature shows itself and she orders the peasants off of the royal lands. She rips the groom’s heart out of his body and, despite her father warning her not to, kills him.

Later, Regina goes to visit the grave of her sweetheart, Daniel, who was killed by her mother. As she lays a single yellow rose on Daniel’s grave, she sees her mother has come to see her. It turns out her mother has come to see her on the anniversary of Daniel’s death. Cora has found her way out of Wonderland and makes a speech about wanting to apologize and help her daughter. Regina is still very angry with Cora. Cora knows that Regina still has a soulmate—Robin Hood—and she wants to help Regina find him.

Cora seeks out Robin in a tavern, only to run into the Sheriff of Nottingham. Cora states that she’s looking for a specific man with a tattoo on his arm, Robin Hood. The sheriff tells Cora that Robin is married, and that Robin thinks he’s a good thief because he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The sheriff promises to help Cora find Robin. Later, Cora goes to Regina to tell her that she has found Regina’s soulmate and that he is on his way to the castle. Cora helps Regina to dress in a beautiful dress so that she can receive Robin. It’s not Robin who arrives, but the Sheriff of Nottingham disguised as Robin Hood, with the tattoo and all. Regina and the sheriff spend the evening together, and Regina tells Robin about her first love. Turns out the sheriff is a real jerk and calls Regina weak because she’s a woman. Regina uses her magic and determines that this supposed Robin Hood has been coached by Cora to sweep Regina off her feet and marry her, all so that Regina can have a child. Cora wants the child for some sordid purpose. Cora comes to Regina’s room later that night to check on how things are going, but Regina has put the sheriff in the dungeon. Cora’s claws come out as she tells Regina Robin was a sap and that the sheriff would have been a better husband for Regina. Regina only wants to know what a loving marriage is. Cora only wanted Regina to have a child to build a dynasty and secure her place on the throne. Regina has concocted a potion to render herself unable to have a child, all so she can avoid further pain from Cora. Cora admonishes her for taking the potion and for denying herself the possibility of happiness.

In New York City, Regina and Robin are discussing the situation currently at hand with Zelena’s pregnancy. Regina is sorry that Robin got mixed up in the rivalry between her sister and herself, and that Zelena’s pregnancy complicates the situation. No one seems sure of what to do, but I can think of a few ideas. Later, Regina and Robin return to the apartment and order everyone, including Zelena, to pack up so they can go to Storybrooke.

Rumpel and the author are at Granny’s discussing their plans to change the villains’ stories. Once Emma has turned dark, they can use her blood to create ink to write new stories. But Hook arrives to tell them that Emma is returning from New York City, so all of Rumpel’s planning has been for nothing. Of course, we all know Rumpel has something up his sleeve. Rumpel is getting weaker as his heart is starting to give out, and when he pulls it out of his chest, we see that it’s all black.

Everyone returns to Storybrooke, and Emma introduces Maleficent to Lily. Time for a tearful reunion between mother and daughter. Zelena has been taken to the psychiatric unit of the hospital to wait out the pregnancy. Zelena is deprived of her powers and is sealed in a room with Regina’s magic.

Regina goes to Rumpel’s to track down the author, and she deduces that Rumpel is dying. She snatches the author’s quill from Rumpel and disappears from the pawnshop with the author just as Rumpel collapses.

Regina takes the author to Regina’s vault, and since Emma didn’t go dark, Rumpel’s plan has fallen apart. Regina shows the author the page of her and Robin Hood and the author recognizes it as a page that he had written for another book. The author tells Regina that other forces might be at work to help her, and that they need to find the ink to change Regina’s story.

Lily and Maleficent are eating dinner. While Maleficent wants to move forward, Lily seeks revenge on Snow and Charming for what was done to her. Lily decides to leave Storybrooke because she doesn’t want to hear what Maleficent has to say, especially after she finds out Maleficent is bound to Storybrooke. Maleficent goes to Snow and Charming to tell them that Lily is leaving. Maleficent wants to know if Snow and Charming can seal the borders to keep Lily in Storybrooke. Snow and Charming tell Maleficent that Lily’s behavior is a lot like Emma’s when she first came to Storybrooke, and Maleficent begs for her help.

Regina finds Lily at the bus stop and decides to make a deal with her. Since Lily was the vessel for Emma’s darkness, Regina takes Lily’s blood to use as ink for the quill. She disappears. As Snow, Charming, and Maleficent drive around town looking for Lily, a dragon crosses their path. Maleficent recognizes her as Lily’s dragon form. Regina goes to Zelena with the author so that the author can write a new, deserving ending for Zelena. Please, let’s get rid of Zelena.

Hook and Emma hang out together by the seashore and Hook tells Emma she needs to try to make amends with her parents. Hook explains to Emma that her parents were only trying to protect her, even if they are selfish assholes, and that they have tried to make up for what they did. Emma should give them another chance.

Maleficent finds Lily and approaches her, even as Snow and Charming try to stop her from doing so. In the struggle with Lily in her dragon form, Snow hits her head and is knocked unconscious. Dragon Lily takes to the air. Emma and Hook arrive on the scene and Emma uses her magic to heal Snow. Snow and Charming apologize for the things they did to protect Emma, and Emma realizes that her parents are heroes and made her the savior to give her and their kingdom the best chance. Both Emma and her parents are able to reconcile.

Lily turns back into a human just as Maleficent finds her. Maleficent sits down with Lily and gives her the jeweled rattle that should have been hers. Maleficent and Lily are able to reconcile their differences. Lily closed herself off from Maleficent because Maleficent’s openness with her freaked her out. Lily’s darkness has made every relationship in her life difficult, and Maleficent promises to help her.

In Zelena’s cell, as the author waits, Regina tells Zelena that the writer is going to write Zelena out of the story and make everyone forget Zelena. Zelena tells Regina that Zelena is just like their mother, and Regina decides not make the author write anything. Regina already has Robin and has made a better life for herself, and she decides not to let Zelena stand in the way. Happiness is a choice for her, but she will make sure Zelena is no longer able to wreak havoc on their lives again. The author begins to write, and he disappears and goes to Rumpel. As Rumpel waits, the author is beginning to rewrite the fairy tales so that the villains can have a happy ending.

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